Just before the end of my first year at university I became involved in my first loving, uncomplicated relationship. This led to me coming out to my family. My parents have always known I was gay since around the time I was 14/15, when I came out to them. Despite them knowing and not only accepting, but being supportive, being gay was only something I felt I had to keep hidden from the rest of my family. If my grandmother, aunt or uncles would ask if I had, “met a nice girl yet,” I would lie, telling them that I wasn’t looking for a relationship or simply, “not yet, but hopefully soon.” I think because of this, I became extremely reserved in terms of dealing and speaking about my sexuality to people in general. Being gay was part of me, but something that was a burden, something I didn’t talk about and wasn't something I was proud of.
Naturally, when I came out to my family, who are predominantly heterosexual (I can’t think of another gay person in my family without prefixing ‘great’ onto aunt or uncle) there was an initial shock, however it was not an issue with them. They hugged me, told me they loved me and we carried on with our lives. The only thing my brothers questioned me about was what football team my boyfriend supported.
The love and acceptance that my family showed me, and how it has made me feel has brought to my attention the importance of coming out as a gay person. I had always said that, ‘I hope that my sexuality is one of the lesser interesting aspects of myself.” I now regret and resent this statement. The support I have experienced from my family after coming out has opened me up to a new freedom I never had before, to embrace, express, explore and be proud of my sexuality. I am looking forward to this coming through in my artwork.
In the work I am going to produce, I want to explore my own identity as a homosexual man, focusing on my appreciation for men – physically and emotionally, gender identification, my role as a man, my role as a homosexual man, pornography and themes of desire, lust and gay culture.